Generation gap 2

John Roughan’s column is worth reading in full  .

It’s one of few realistic views on student fees, allowances and costs I’ve read and concludes:

Announcing their living allowance would gradually lose its parental means test, Helen Clark said her “dream has always been to enable our young people to have the kind of support that my generation had”.

Her dream is unduly romantic; our generation did not live as well at university as today’s students do. A student of today dropped into a campus of 1970 would notice the clothing, vehicles, bookshops, cafeteria food and general surroundings much plainer and poorer.

About the only thing more lively in 1970 was the politics and it would strike today’s students as immature. It was generationally embarrassing in Tuesday night’s television debate when Helen Clark could not believe John Key had not taken sides on the 1981 Springbok Tour.

It is not hard to believe a 20-year-old commerce student with conservative views and a new girlfriend was among those not particularly interested. He spans the generation between me and my kids and makes mine seem suddenly dated.

When I consider the economy we have given them, it is not tertiary costs and their debt that I regret, it is the housing debt they face because the baby boomers never learned to invest in anything more productive. Most of my generation never learned to invest in themselves. That’s the difference.

And is one of the reasons too many of my generation – for I’m a baby boomer – didn’t invest in themselves is because we were brought up with governments doing too much for us?

I think that’s part of the problem and one of the reasons we should be very careful of Labour and other parties on the left who think the government should do more because we’ll pay dearly for it.

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